Vernon R.J. Schmid's COVID-19 Links and Notes

[ Smiles | Well Being, Mental Health, and Other Links | "Dear Diary" | (Latest Entry) | Songs ]


Whether or not your mommy had you stay up late at night in the 1960s to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus and old Laurel and Hardy movies on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (with or without fruit cocktail and cinnamon toast), or you acquired a twisted sense of humour from Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner or other sources of gallows humour ("Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?..."), or you are a pathological optimist ("You always have a choice...") with or without influences from H.R. Pufnstuf, or you miss Chief Inspector Dreyfuss, Mark Russell, and/or Tom Lehrer, or you are a sucker for a sweet song, it always helps to find and share smiles (or, at least, take a break for a few minutes). In no particular order...

In the context of "♫♪Always look on the bright side of quarantine...♫", here is a version of an electronic mail message that was being forwarded in late March or early April:


Leaving it to others to determine whether the worst source of medical advice is "social media" or "a political leader at a press conference". The approach for all should be what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said as the second and third sentences of his first inaugural address:

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
Objective references and support-related contacts include (in no particular order): A section on COVID-19 testing statistics provides an objective assessment on which country (or, further down, which subdivision) performs the most testing. (Hint: Click the sort icon in the "Test / million people" column heading.)

An example of a good visual presentation of the (overwhelming) data is Kori Maleski's (including being able to stretch the graphs using the scroll wheel of your mouse).

If someone feels COVID-19 is "No big deal...", it might help to view presentations by Dr. Mike Hansen, especially the video on what doctors are learning from autopsies of COVID-19 victims.

"Dear (COVID-19) Diary"

February 25, 2020:  During an interview by Chris Hayes, Daniel M. Lavery observes:

"The reason God created wheat and grapes
but not bread and wine
is so that I could participate in Creation...."

March 3:  Hearing someone mention (in coverage of what is happening in other countries) that being forced to stay in is an introvert's dream. (No... not really....)

March 4 evening:  Coaches meeting for the 2020 USports Track and Field Championships. In the context of concerns regarding whether the event should proceed, it is noted that there are only two cases in all of Alberta.

March 5:  Contemplating whether Anita Ward has a training video for the person operating the lap counter....

March 6:  At a loud music concert and a track meet broke out.....

March 7:  Still at rock concert -- every now and then, somebody runs around or jumps in the sand or uses a pole to jump five metres into the air or throws a metal ball or something.... Oh... wait... Maybe this is a track and field meet with the music being played WAY too loud by the DJ....

March 8:  Have been at spring road race site for forty minutes (beside Capital Pizza in St. Albert). Keyboard frozen... extremities already freezing... would probably be warmer if I was standing in Sturgeon River.... BRRRRRRRRRRRRR......

March 9:  Looking forward to a week from today, when I will be attending the Duchess Bake Shop Macaron Basics course -- it will be a calming respite after the indoor track and field season, which has one more week to go.

March 10:  This is the day for the Secondary Individual and Junior High Relays preliminaries for the 42nd Annual Running Room Indoor Games. Trying to stay on top of things needed for registration and for results... but... every now and then, somebody sends a message asking if Saturday's events will proceed given the "recent global medical concerns".

March 11:  Six percent?!! When did the COVID-19 death rate become six percent?!!!!

Receive an electronic mail message about "Top 3 Seeding Tips". I get SO many messages this time of year about track and field — not least about the seeding of heats and lanes that I performed and why an athlete wound up in one lane versus another or in one heat/flight instead of a “better” one — that when I see the subject of the message in my inbox, I think maybe somebody was offering a hint or three about something to make it easier to conform to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) rules and guidances about seeding...and THEN I saw the sender: Greenland Garden Centre....

March 12 (very) early:  Send a message to coaches that "The 2020 Running Room Indoor Games Finals will proceed as planned on Saturday, March 14, 2020 unless directed otherwise by Public Health Agency of Canada ( ) or Alberta Health Services ( ) with regards to the risk associated with COVID-19 (a.k.a.: novel coronavirus). The health and safety of our participants, spectators, and officials and volunteers is our highest priority and we will continue to monitor the situation."

March 12 mid-morning:  While walking to bus stop (on way to beginning the several hours of work that will be needed to prepare materials needed for Saturday's portions (including finals) of the Running Room Indoor Games), receive telephone call from key organizer, warning that the event may need to be postponed after all. By coincidence, the NHL Board of Governors is having a conference call at the top of the hour.

Decision for the Indoor Games is made little more than an hour later (to postpone to Saturday, May 30, 2020), although there are lingering questions regarding whether it really needs to be. Begin spending hours to inform the coaches and make appropriate changes to the web site.

March 12 afternoon:  There is some solace in seeing a list of cancelled events. Oh, and then Alberta Health Services announces new restrictions (including cancellation of sports events).

The postponement to May 30 creates a conflict with the annual St. Albert Challenge Track and Field Meet. The status of so many things has changed in a week, eleven weeks from now seems SO far away.... (Having something moved to the previous weekend is probably not an option, but does not hurt to ask. (Having some smiles from memories when St. Albert Challenge used to be the Mother's Day weekend.) It is a wonderful meet, not least from the scents of lilacs during those days.)

Meanwhile, the Alberta Health Services announcement likely also means the cancellation of the Alberta Colleges track championships (scheduled for the following weekend). And The Running Room needs to postpone the annual St. Patrick's Day Trail Run. (Not used to not having to be up at four that Sunday morning.... Oh, and I should probably stop applying timing chips to the bib numbers I was given to prepare.....)

March 13:  Receive a message from the Leduc Track Club. The Alberta Health Services announcement also means the cancellation of the Klondike Relays.

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference makes a similar decision regarding their championship event.

Regardless of whether sport events are cancelled, the Equipment Room staff at the Universiade Pavilion deserve a token of appreciation for all that they did during the 2019-2020 indoor track and field season. (In keeping with a little tradition related to the Indoor Games, I drop off some chocolates.)

The Cabin opens. YAY! A menu without lots of avocado (unlike the previous occupant of the premises)!

March 15:  The Duchess Bake Shop courses are suspended "...until March 28...". NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I go to the 124 Street location and pout uncontrollably....

March 18 early morning:  Heard a Demi Lovato song on the radio in the background that made me pause. (Okay, okay, okay, I have a soft spot for female power anthems.....)

March 19:  Someone's birthday. Send a message:

Today for lunch, we should...
...take you to the casino restaurant!

Oh... wait.... Hang on.... Let’s take you to a BAR!!

Oh... wait... I forgot... OOH!!!!! Let’s take you to the POOL!!!! We can have a SWIMMING POOL PARTY IN YOUR HONOUR!!!!! YAY!!!!!

Oh... right... [Expletive deleted.].... Ummm.... yeah..... (Sigh....) So... ummm... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

Receive a note that Jim Cuddy will have "FaceBook Live" concert -- suggests a trend (since concerts are not allowed for a while). Trying to figure out if I can listen in using my rotary dial telephone... oh... wait... I need to go to work, and the concert will be during lunch. Unable to listen, so no need to figure out the technical challenge.

March 19 late morning:  Receive telephone call from manager, telling me to leave the building so that I would be safer. I mention that buses in the area are hourly -- unable to comply immediately.

March 19 1320h:  Fifteen-minute walk to the nearest bus stop, and one neuron contemplating whether I was "safer" after being told to leave -- having to leave early meant having to walk on a road because there is no sidewalk, a road known for vehicles not giving safe space to pedestrians, a road that often has city maintenance vehicles that wobble as they go by (small tractors and such)... and then having to cross the road to go to another stop because the intended bus was early, at an intersection having drivers more concerned about the coffee they just picked up from the drive-through than the not-metal entities in front of them.... (The other neurons have not yet decided how they feel regarding their safety. (That spring was supposed to have started was barely noticed due to all the snow.))

March 20:  Supposed to join a WebEx-based team meeting. Attempting to join it with my rotary dial telephone is about as successful as my ongoing failures at figuring out how to send a text message using my rotary dial telephone.

Someone asks " your head going squish squish yet?" (You know, the "Squish... Squish... Squish..." sound one hears when things are such that one feels that an aneuryism is about to burst in the brain....) I reply

If you ever saw the BBC Television series version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", I refer you to the scene in the first episode during which Arthur Dent -- no doubt becoming overwhelmed at his home being knocked down to make way for a bypass, his friend (Ford Prefect) telling him that the friend is not from where he said he as from, his friend telling him that the world is about to end, and suddenly a scary-looking Vogon space ship showing up barely above kite-flying level -- says (paraphrased) "I do not think I can handle much more -- I am going to go have a little lie-down right now!!!!!"

There is mention on the news that some travel-related entities are not accepting reservations for certain periods at this time. In previous years, this time of the year is when I would be making various reservations related to performing electronic photofinish for BC SuperWeek. Sending a note to a key organizer, asking if there is any word on potential ramifications from the current COVID-19 situation in Canada and the Lower Mainland.

March 21:  Receive a note that the April 26 Bison Run has to become a virtual event.

If a large power outage of a few hours ultimately causes a small population boom in approximately nine months, what will be the ramifications in December, 2020 and January, 2021 from weeks of "Stay at home..." conditions?

March 22:  Doctor mentions "...mid-May... is when COVID is expected to be peaking in Alberta." Does not require an understanding of University bell curve grading to figure out that if the peak is eight weeks away, the denouement is also going to require eight weeks. So... a reasonable expectation is this situation is going to last until, what, July 12ish....

T sends a note about (paraphrased) "Day One of Quarantine: Eating cake. Day Two of Quarantine: Eating cake in the shower...."

Hmmm... Another consideration is how many of the infections -- in Italy, in parts of the United States -- have been due to people who were/are totally asymptomatic. Hmmm... Wait... They figure the virus came from bats, and bats are unaffected... Hmmm.... Hmmm.... If ever there was proof needed that vampires exist among us.... Something like a fifth of the cases... and yet they still insist they do not need to test "everyone"....

Thinking of the scene from "Tremors" when they are leaving the survivalists' house and the male survivalist (Burt Gummer) rattles off everything they had and swears about unexpected worms in the ground.

March 23:  I reply to T: "Day Three of Quarantine: Tub full of shower water; eating cake with ice cream while taking a weeklong bath...."

Receive a telephone call regarding the need to remove track and field items from the Universiade Pavilion. Reasons obvious given the proximity of the facility to the University of Alberta Hospital.

March 24:  Follow-up telephone call notes that the Universiade Pavilion will be locked down "at noon tomorrow". Needing to stay extra-late at work to complete month-end tasks extra-early.

After late-night bus rides, walk by nearby fast food outlet. No access to the lobby, but the drive-through is open. There are no cars in sight, but even though the potential customer is taking extra precautions as a pedestrian, and even though the window personnel have absolutely nothing else to do... they refuse to provide any accommodation in service for those who are not in a car. Despite exhaustion (and needing to be back at work less than five hours later), neurons formulate the response to be sent later:

"PLEASE provide a mechanism by which your customers who do not have a vehicle, who do not want their food (ever) touched by a delivery person, and who do not use your app (because of the notorious, negative feedback about your app) to be able to obtain food and/or a beverage from your outlets.
Yes, I know: You do not allow pedestrians to use the drive-through for safety reasons. Be INSPIRED, please, so that your night managers can come across as accommodating if not actually helpful (instead of the consistent display of arrogance that your night managers display (even when there are no vehicles in sight) when someone dares to walk up to the drive-through window asking to be served). (If they are denying service, the night managers could AT LEAST start by saying "I am sorry, but..." instead of the typical "WE ONLY SERVE PEOPLE IN CARS!!".)
Yes, there is a public health crisis in progress. You can be innovative and still meet the normal safety concerns (as well as the newer health ones) of your customers and of your employees. Your competitors have figured it out (e.g.: a recent posting by a pizza chain, including contactless considerations). A Tuesday night milkshake in [your] area of Edmonton should not be an impossibility, even with the current COVID-19 circumstances."
[Rant mode off... And not just because the chain's milkshakes are not good in the first place....]

It is noted that Edmonton Public Library's speaking event with Monica Lewinsky is postponed. Was looking forward to hearing about her thoughts since her TED Talk.

A news item notes that -- in the U.S. -- six percent of the cases have needed hospitalization. When considered with the 1.2(ish) fatality rate, this pretty much means a fifth to a quarter of those needing to go to the hospital in the U.S. will die.

March 25:  Anniversary of someone's happy group photo appearing in Time Magazine... back when a happy group photo was within two metres radius.

March 25 late afternoon:  Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives in her daily update a sombre warning:

"All of us have a role – and a responsibility – to stop the spread, and there are actions that all of us can take.
These extend to our homes, our families and our traditions.
For example, we need to limit sharing of open food, even between family members.
Don’t share snacks, like a family popcorn bowl, open candy, nuts[,] or other snacks like this.
Limit the availability of a communal fruit bowl.
Don’t share cups, drinks[,] or utensils, and have one person as the designated person to serve all others so that a serving utensil is handled by only one person.
Now is not the time to plan any travel, even to other cities or provinces, or to attend large family gatherings or dinners.
We must maintain social-distancing practices – even when we are together with family.
Now is not the time to visit grandparents for Sunday dinner.
Now is not the time to host or attend a potluck with friends.
Now is not the time to plan for a family reunion.
This is the time to stay home, and work together to limit the spread."

Found an open door to the Universiade Pavilion. The conversion into a COVID-19 clinic and test site appears to be already completed and is stunning (a sense that does not decrease during the three hours required to remove all of the electronic photofinish, results, and related items). Given what the doctor mentioned at the start of the week, difficult to imagine the remaining competitions of the Running Room Indoor Games being held in two months less two days.

March 26:  Should probably visit my barber, not least because it is time for my spring shearing.

Realize that the "bunk desks" idea (for increasing office space capacity) probably would not be approved by Alberta Health Services due to physical distancing requirements....
bunk desk example -- source unknown

Someone mentions they are "...98% sure..." about something. The first thing I think of is the approximately two percent fatality rate being experienced by some countries during the COVID-19 progression.....

March 27 morning:  Someone asks if it would be safe to visit their barber. Reminds that I should go see my barber today. Nevertheless, I suggest exercising caution.

Send a note to one of the CHED announcers expressing appreciation for all that the announcers "...are doing to keep everyone informed (and to allow everyone to express their own questions, concerns, and considerations). You all deserve a hug (whatever THAT means -- in a positive way -- nowadays...)...."

March 27 afternoon:  Looks like the City of Edmonton made the barber decision for both of us.

March 28:  T sends a succinct summary of Day Five of Quarantine. Not sure if I giggled first or screamed first....

Stop by a store to look for something. Notice that they have chocolate eggs on sale for a really good price. Later... Stop by another branch to look for something else. They have the same sale. Evening dinner is finally decided....

One of the news items is about an Italian opera singer serenading quarantined Florence. Nicely done... but Aretha Franklin's version still stuns. (There is some background about her performance. "Nessun Dorma" is one of the tracks on her "Jewels In the Crown".)

March 28:  They play part of the Debby Boone version of "You Light Up My Life" on a news station. Forty-two years later and the song still makes me shudderscream.

A few neurons contemplate whether it would be viable to have an outdoor track and field meet while satisfying Alberta Health Services requirements. Let's see: 100m heats could have no more than three athletes on the track at a time -- one person in lane one, one running on the line between lanes four and five, and one running in lane eight. Disinfecting throwing implements will require ten-or-so minutes per throw (read the instructions). Good luck figuring out a way of dealing with high jump mats and pole vault mats. Only one person per six-foot table in photofinish and results. Hmmm... Long jump and triple jump.... The boards are a consideration, but... Need to check with beach resorts that allow pets -- how DO you disinfect sand?

April 1:  There is a question about whether liquor is being rationed in Alberta. Given the date, probably not true... and, especially if not true, "...considering COVIDiots are already panic-toilet-paper-buying, those same dolts would likely run out to the liquor stores, putting themselves and others at risk to hoard all the booze."

Receive a message that the Tour de Delta (the first three days of competition of the 2020 BC SuperWeek) has been cancelled this year. In the context of other news items and annoucements by other jurisdictions (Ontario decided yesterday to cancel outdoor events to the end of June), not a surprise.

April 2:  A minor mention in the news is particularly stunning: Approximately four billion people are in locked down conditions due to the virus. This is more than the number of people on the planet during the Apollo 11 moon landing... and only about six hundred million of those watched. COVID-19 is orders of magnitude larger in defining a "shared experience".

The Duchess Bake Shop courses are suspended "...until May 3...". NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! The next up for me was supposed to be about savoury baking. Unable to repeat my pouting in person -- the store is closed. [Sigh.....]

The sisters Karma and Serendipity provide a gentle nudge, by somehow causing me to catch the tail end of a CBC Radio broadcast during which they observe the passing of Adam Schlesinger (from COVID-19), noting the soulful "Hackensack". Did not know about "The Monkees Good Times!" album, and (suffice to type) other mentions cause three Fountains of Wayne albums to be added to the "recently added" list.

Another nudge from the sisters: A clear sky, a shining sun, and humming a song from Lauv that has all the more meaning these days.

April 3:  Question on the radio about whether professional wrestling can still occur under current health conditions on the continent. Wrap the wrestlers in Saran Wrap....

Bob Layton is being recognized for fifty years in the radio industry. They should play his audition tape (which I had the fortune of hearing approximately four decades ago): he sung Latin. He likely received part of his training during the Hong Kong Flu epidemic... then I realize he might even have some stories about what polio wards were like. Typewriters were/are more reliable.

Coping mechanism for the weather: Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in... Breathe in... Breathe in... Pass out....

It is mentioned that Top Gun sequel release is now postponed to Christmas. Oh... good... More time for me to watch the first movie for the first time....

Stop by a London Drugs in the early afternoon. They have Purex!! Call someone to check if they need some. (Is there any greater proof of "Love is when someone else's needs are more important than your own..." these days than to ensure someone has enough toilet paper?)

The funeral service for Evaleen Siegle is a stark example of how vital moments in our lives (and in our deaths) have changed due to the need for physical distancing to keep ourselves and others safe. (Good that I have six boxes of kleenex....) Adds an extra dimension to the core song I want played at my funeral/memorial/PermanentAdios: hug life, too.

April 4:  "The Ten Commandments" starts on ABC this evening at nine Mountain Time. Wonderful movie (and not just because of the scenes with Anne Baxter or Debra Paget), a well-researched Biblical movie about the life of Moses and all that he understood and accomplished with God’s Good Grace, a movie with exceptional special effects to make one BELIEVE in the Power of God, like the fog of a descending-from-heaven green pestilence spreading everywhere and causing everyone to want to — need to — stay inside.... Oh... Wait....

April 5:  Receive picture of four bad guys from the Star Wars movies with the caption "Come to the Dark Side. We have respirator masks."

G informs me that Grandmaster James Lo passed away. Too young and too soon, and not just because he always made one feel welcome....

April 6:  During this afternoon's Alberta Health Services presentation, the Premier (really do not understand why politicians feel they need to insert themselves into health expert presentations, but whatever) let slip that the Tuesday evening announcement will include mention that the peak will be in weeks.

Forgot to note the item in the news that a tiger in New York has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. It has been mentioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) that dogs do not appear to be carriers of the COVID-19 virus. Having to wonder if the news items prove we are now in a Gary Larson "The Far Side" universe, one in which the dogs conspired to create something to catch more cats and accidentally also affected their kibbleproviders....

L replies "I do remember the headline when dogs were cleared - 'WHO let the dogs out'." ([Giggle....] Good time to listen to the song.)

B sends a picture from a French truck stop washroom. Bicycle lock preventing the theft of the roll of toilet paper is a nice touch.

April 7:  Sending a note to a heptathlete, suggesting she post as a public service announcement for staying healthy in the COVID-19 times.... She could use a javelin to help make clear what physical distancing means. "Hi!! If you won't listen to Alberta Health Services nor the Government of Alberta, please listen to this Heptathlete: Follow javelin competition rules -- If you come within THIS bubble, COVID-19 might burst yours!!.... #StayHome #Stay2mAway" She could probably add to the video (or have a separate one), something about staying outside of the radius of a rotating hammer-thrower, for which the lesson is "Look where YOU are and where everyone else IS...". (I then remember: I have a javelin or two (from a couple of decades ago -- inherited them when they became non-regulation and/or someone needed to make some room in her home).)

Dr. Peter Silverstone offers stress-addressing suggestions (fast forward to 22:00).

Premier of Alberta announces one scenario of 800,000 infections for the province and between 400 and 3100 deaths. Not to ruin hopes with mathematics or anything, but... Having to wonder where the numbers came from: given that the Tuesday morning Canadian COVID-19 death rate was two percent (Alberta's is just under), two percent of 800,000 is 16,000. (Not likely to get better -- Canada's death rate was 1.4 percent early last week....)

The track and field results software pops up a message reminding that the licence expires soon. Sending a note to the software vendor -- with various track and field meets in Alberta being cancelled beginning March 12, and (so far) the cancellations looking like they will continue until the end of June (which writes off the outdoor track and field season), no revenue for track and field services (to pay for the licence renewal) for a significant period of time.

There is a question about what families will do for Easter Dinner. Will probably be spending Easter with the Swanson family.... Hmmm... Maybe dinner provided by the Swanson family would not be so bad after all....

April 8:  U.S. death rate (i.e.: number of deaths divided by number of confirmed cases) is 3.3 percent. The rate was much lower a week or two ago.

The Premier of Alberta is again fronting this afternoon's Alberta Health Services presentation (opus citatum "...whatever..."). Tedious -- suggestion: Competition for math teachers to make a video presenting the Premier's figures in an INTERESTING way to grab the attention of (and inspire) their math students. (Okay, okay, okay, so I miss Dr. Julius Sumner Miller....)

The software vendor replies "You may want to do the renewal when you are ready to do meets again. And the one year renewal will start on that date." (Let's see... Probably twelve to eighteen months for a viable, CDC-accepted vaccine....)

This is the first evening of Passover (the day after the Pink Moon)... except this time the deadly green something-or-other has been all over the planet for a month and more....

April 9:  There is a question regarding whether there is a tradition/gene that causes Prime Minister Trudeaus to invoke the War Measures Act or equivalent. As yet unknown... One is more likely to respond "Just watch me...", the other is less likely to use Brylcreem. (Really? It was owned by Sara Lee? That might explain some things....)

Listen to John Prine's "Sweet Revenge: The Early Years". His passing is another too-soon loss to COVID-19, and not just because of his inspiration to other artists (including Roger Waters). While listening to the tunes, noticed a similarity in Prine's music and lyrics to Uncle Buddy's music.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw warns in her daily update "This virus can too easily spread from the touch of a serving spoon, a kiss to the cheek[,] or droplets carried through the breath of someone singing, chanting[,] or even laughing." [Sigh....] No singing. Spend a few hours humming happy songs... you know, like the Eric Carmen version of "All By Myself" and the Nilsson Schmilsson version of "Without You". A few neurons wonder whether Schmilsson's advice from nearly five decades ago might, maybe, possibly contain the cure....

The thought occurs that an advantage of no hockey playoffs at this time is that we get to listen to J’lyn Nye having more good conversations with others (let alone her providing calm understanding of the dynamic health crisis situation). (The sports dudes get LOTS of time to be heard... AND cut short or replace the news shows when the sports guys have their OWN broadcast to do....)

CNN posts a news item about an urgent need for COBOL programmers. Five-decades-old systems? Hmmm... Maybe a 2.7-decades-old system is not so bad after all. Then I realize that my youngest COBOL book is older than most of my co-workers. Then I wonder whether the COBOL-anxious system managers who might happen to be Christian are praying more for the Second Coming of Jesus or for the Second Coming of Admiral Grace Hopper....

It is mentioned that today is Unicorn Day. Hmmm... Seeing smiles and brilliant eyes in person is better than finding any mythological pretty pony (pink or otherwise).

April 10:  On the news in the background is mention from South Korea that some people that had (and recovered from) the disease are getting it again. (Oh, good -- a chronic condition that flares, like how my mommy's artificial ligaments would tell her a storm was on the way hours before it was picked by Environment Canada weather radar. (Hmmm... A certain "doctor" is such an advocate for the anti-malarials for COVID-19 -- maybe recurrence of COVID-19 is God's way of saying "If you are going to be THAT stupid, fine, I will make what you call 'COVID-19' flare like malaria does for some people...".)) The word from a real doctor: There might be two strains, and/or that there might be "superspreaders" who do not fully clear the virus for more than a month. (Let's see... They had to keep Typhoid Mary in isolation for three decades. Golly... No wonder "Logan's Run" renewal occurred at thirty....) Oh, and the infection rate per person is increasing. (Golly II....)

Jon Meacham (author of, among other things, "The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross") makes the observation (during an interview by Brian Williams) that The Golden Rule is more of a covenant, reminds that John Maynard Keynes noted that The Dark Ages lasted for four hundred years, and observed that the first Passover was "...a moment of chaos and the families gathered to protect themselves... from external forces. The first Easter... was commemorated in private, in small gatherings of family units.... So there is an opportunity here to have a very authentic... Christian experience...."

April 11:  Partly because of Meacham's mention last night of Bishop Michael Curry, thinking extra of a sermon several years ago (2014ish) at McKernan Baptist Church during which the pastor noted that the saddest day for those first Christians was not what we now call "Good Friday" -- it was the next day, not just because of the depths of despair and sadness on that Saturday, but also due to the overwhelming loss (in all aspects of their lives) that they were beginning to realize and understand.

Still... There is a smile in thinking about what someone (Trevor Noah?) noted as an irony, that tomorrow Christians should -- must -- stay inside to commemorate and celebrate the very day that Jesus Christ did not....

Notice that it is Cheese Fondue Day. Thinking extra of the Château Experience at the Château Lake Louise....

BC SuperWeek has been cancelled for 2020. (Anyone who has seen the start line of a cycling event -- not to mention the drafting that such cyclists perform -- would know that satisfying two-metre physical distancing requirements would not be viable.)

Joe Biden (in a chat with Nicolle Wallace about faith) mentions a quotation from Søren Kierkegaard: "Faith sees best in the dark." Mr. Biden also notes an edition of Hägar The Horrible in which Hägar -- marooned on the rocks, his ship sinking and on fire -- yells to the storming sky "WHY ME?!" From on high -- in at least as booming a voice -- is observed "WHY NOT?" The former U.S. Vice President also offers that faith is "...something that gives you the ability to go inside yourself... just find some peace."

April 12:  During a very-early morning walk, passing by the parking lot of On the Rocks, a parking lot that would normally be overfull due to customers just getting started and taxis getting queued up for closing time... but the parking lot is empty (because On the Rocks has been closed for at least a couple of weeks (as has The Cabin, which might not have been open for even a week before their closure)) save for one vehicle and one fellow looking a bit dodgy (well, okay, maybe two fellows, given the time of the night). A few neurons start to hum a few parts of Cat Stevens' version of "Another Saturday Night as the neurons remember them from childhood ("♫♪It's a Saturday night and I ain't got nobody...♫"), tying in with how bars and lounges are not allowed to have anybody. Find the link for this diary and... oh... wait... WHAT?!! What do those lyrics say?!! Oh my goodness... Okay... so... maybe sometimes "misheard lyrics" have, as a variant, the lyrics remembered by innocentchild neurons from a Top-40 radio station are not quite what the artist was really singing about....

Knowing I should get some sleep, but... Catching up on Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher". Losing track of so many things to think about (and not just the COVID-19 "commercial" observation that one might worry less about toilet paper during constipation), from the discussions with Bill de Blasio (local governments do not have the capacity to handle such situations even for a short term), Al Gore (the environment we have created is a pre-existing condition for the disease; start COVID-19 testing at polling stations now), Ian Bremmer (what privacy rights are we about to throw out the window this time? (beware the unique identifiers)), and Nikki Glaser (to child or not to child).

The chocoholic neurons note that this Easter Sunday marks the end of the seven-month Chocolate Season -- you know, the one during which (among other things) the (unsold) Hallowe'en chocolates become Christmas chocolates which (if remaining unsold) become Valentine chocolates which (if still unsold) become Easter chocolates.... (Should be okay -- Christmas-related displays will start appearing in stores in, oh, three months... four, tops....)

It was nice during the week that various world and regional political leaders made clear that the Easter Bunny is an essential worker. Regardless of the debate whether "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie (nope), it should be easy to agree that "Roger and Me" should not be shown during the first few weeks of spring in any home having children. (Oh... and maybe not a particular episode of "Looney Tunes", too....)

April 12 mid-morning:  Glancing outside to see... snow! [Expletive deleted.] Oh, good, a nice Easter morning... for Antarctica....

"Ben Hur" has started in the background. A little over a year or two ago, during a particularly busy track and field weekend, "Ben Hur" had just started one late night, and the overture music was nice to collapse to before needing to be back at the track in a few hours. I fell to sleep about when the Roman legion was on the march through Nazareth... and woke up just as the trial was ending. Realized that it is probably a bad thing if one can measure the sleep attained in fractions of "Ben Hur". One "Ben Hur" of sleep is barely 3.5 hours -- doctors would probably recommend at least two "Ben Hurs"... okay, okay, okay, maybe closer to three....

[A little late in the year for this, but given the movie's first scene after the opening credits... In the second month of the year 1 A.D., the Roman army was once again on the march. As the legions were making their way to the next conquest, one centurion turned to another and said "You know, it is February and I am still putting zero on all of my cheques...."]

Just thought about how the story of "Ben Hur" includes, among other things, being stuck in a cave due to a disease, not being able -- not being allowed -- to venture out beyond the perimeter, having to rely on the kindness of strangers (if not loved ones) for food and for water, loved ones and strangers knowing the risk to themselves for being so near to the disease, a disease about which so little is known. But those were ancient times, right? (It does not look like Lew Wallace (author of "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ") had a medical background when he wrote the book fourteen decades ago....)

Received a text message containing emoji icons for a church with a heart, the "Thank-you" one, and someone kneeling in prayer. Makes one pause, thinking of whether -- even with the importance and intended meaning of the autumn holiday -- this week and weekend is the one that should be the real Thanksgiving. Coincidental with a few neurons thinking of the decades-ago "Davey and Goliath" Easter episode, about the loss of a loved one and the promise that we will see them again. (So many thousands having that grief this weekend. For countless others, there is the sadness that chocolate bunnies are receiving the hugs that they themselves yearn for.)

[First of the slave ship scenes. Come on! Really: how DOES a slave ship oarsman stay up-to-date on current events, enough to know who is coming on board?!!]

Received a message asking if I had seen Andrea Bocelli. His uploaded "Music For Hope - Live From Duomo di Milano" concert deserves extra attention because the Duomo di Milano is stunning and elegant in so many ways. (Not sure there are words to describe what it is like to see the stained glass windows in person.) The concert reminds of the April 18 "One World: Together At Home concert (which deserves kudos to Lady Gaga for her organizational role, and for which Maestro Bocelli will perform).

Skimming through the Wikipedia page on the disease, see a graphic explaining clearly the importance of staying at home:

graphic explaining the importance of staying at home

Jon Meacham, in observing that Franklin Delano Roosevelt died 7.5 decades ago today, reflects on something President Roosevelt said as the second sentence of his first inaugural address (and the next sentence should also be followed (not least by politicians)):

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."

Thinking extra of what Jacob Bronowski said during an episode of "The Ascent of Man": "We have to touch people."

April 13:  Hearing that the Edmonton Fringe Festival (which is normally in mid-August) has been cancelled for this year. Thinking of the scene in "Ben Hur" during which Simonides yearns to laugh again and for there to be joy and celebration again. The Festival's artistic director reviewed (in a CHED interview) the considerations and contingencies they tried to make work, notes Edmonton as a Festival City and the importance of that in having people come here -- from across the planet -- during the summer month, and observes how important gatherings are to us. (Leads to a reminder of our ancient ancestors' hunter-gatherer existence.)

Thinking extra of Dr. Leo Buscaglia's 1979 "The Art of Being Fully Human" and a summary of what he reads.

While hearing in the background an CHED interview of Dr. Brian Fauteux regarding how music helps when we are troubled, the thought occurs that -- for millenia -- mothers have hummed and sung to their babies to make their children feel better: from birth, our brains are raised to find calm and safety in a tune or a song.

An important point made by Scott McKeen while discussing social isolation on CHED: "It's okay to not be okay...". His chat helps in awareness in the City of Edmonton's resources regarding urban isolation and mental health.

It is noted that today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 13 explosion. Trying not to think too much about the similarities (other than the obvious one of being cooped up for too many days in an enclosed space, worrying about catching something).

There is a news item about wanting to use "smart phone technology" to help identify situations where one might have crossed paths with a COVID-19 patient. Assuming that the core of the methodology is using the Global Positioning System (GPS)... [Sigh...] Anyone who believes that any GPS device is an accurate way of measuring something or identifying specifically where they are (or have been) located is... ummm... insufficiently informed about the limitations of the technology. A starting point is the overview provided by Garmin. The limitations (including obstructions, atmospheric conditions, ionosphere) are such that one's GPS-determined location standing still can change over time. Whether the context is "running course measurement" or "disease tracking", all GPS devices -- even the military ones -- have a margin of error, and the margin of error is affected by a number of factors, some of which the GPS user will usually be unaware of and/or have no possible way of influencing, accounting for, or adjusting for using provable mathematical constructs. (Example: A Garmin kept along the south sidewalk or curb of an east-west roadway will likely give a different distance than one following the center of the road (because of the presumed trees along the south side of the road). (To further the road race measurement perspective: Although some of the methods/procedures for accurate course measurement were used by the ancient Greeks, they nevertheless work (and are still more accurate than the high-technology devices used to tap into the civilian-impaired "space-based radionavigation system... operated by the United States Air Force..."). Therefore, anyone wanting a correct understanding of the distance of a race course should always rely on a professional (assuming they are not wanting to spend some quality time with a yardstick)....))

April 14:  The "My Stalker Gets Me..." t-shirt must have been whispering all through the night, whispering about the cell phone privacy considerations that are deeper than the "Oh, but it is just an app, and it will help us all... What do you have to hide?" The privacy-related issues are more than those hinted at by the fourth-page "Data Surveillance Sheet" excerpt from "The Compleat Computer" (that binary entities are fallible is but a starting point), more than the pitfalls we set for ourselves for agreeing to something without thinking and understanding, more than general and specific considerations of social media, more than the lessons from history ("South Park", Santayana, or otherwise). A tangible mutually beneficial exchange of something is too expensive if it requires an intangible sacrifice of privacy -- whether or not I actively (or might) support a worthy charity (for example) should never mean they get access to driver licence databases. The centuries have demonstrated what happens when "the registered" subsequently become of different interest to the governing (or to those who want to govern); automating it shortens the cycle and extends the ramifications.

A chat about whether research projects on antibodies and vaccines are "the light in the tunnel" (Reminder: That you see a light does not mean you know how long the tunnel is...) includes an observation about "herd immunity"... but liking more "community immunity" (more fun to say, gives a better image of the objectives). A later discussion on the topic of vaccines with a doctor-researcher who has experience with this sort of thing suggests that a viable vaccine will not be ready until the late summer... of 2021. Oh, my... "Wake Me Up When September [2021] Ends". (Figures that the virus would remind of Green Day....) In the background is a recording of what Bill Gates discussed with Trevor Noah -- wondering how bad of a sign it must be if there is a more serious discussion about what needs to be done (and to have a plan about what to do) on a late night comedy show than what has been happening in some news conferences.

[Typing of scientific research... Is anybody checking if the people who bought their own sensory deprivation tank three decades ago are holding up well under "stay at home" isolation?]

Another chat mentions an innovative way of addressing some of the challenges doctors are having in seeing their patients: PurposeMed, a free online clinic. Not fully a substitute for the doctor making one gag with a Popsicle stick, but, still....

Heard that Alexandra Wentworth is battling the virus. She had better luck with the undercover security guards when she tried to drop off an envelope at Donald Rumsfeld's.

The background includes mention of the virus being detected on footwear. Reminds of the visit to a gas station the evening of March 25 (after moving equipment, before returning the rental vehicle), during which someone at a nearby bay was coughing for several seconds and then spat onto the pavement. Hmmm... so now footwear is also a risk. Should have joined the Natural Law Party when Doug Henning was involved, because having better self-levitation capabilities would be particularly helpful right about now....

Dr. Deena Hinshaw's daily update is another example of her empathy, of being able to help others feel better if only by expressing what they might be thinking about but have not figured out how to express.

One of the agonies during the last couple of weeks from the various health services restrictions is the need for as near to "no visitors" for the patients as possible -- separating loved ones, forcing each patient to be physically alone (not having someone to hold on to as their mind and soul grapple with what is happening and what might be about to happen to them). A news video adds further to what is happening: In some hospitals, the equipment is in the hallway to minimize the exposure of the nurses to the virus. Sedated or not, patients deserve even a token "How are you feeling..." whenever a tube needs to be checked.

April 15:  Transportation conundrum before five in the morning: ninety-minute wait for a taxi versus ninetyish-minute rides on buses versus the neighbourhood short-term rental vehicles. The need to focus on something that needed to be finished "today" meant asking the teenager neurons to quiesce having something in the background. Thinking extra of something seen in the downtown Calgary Birks store display window thirtyish years ago:

"Happiness is like a butterfly -- the more you chase it,
the more it will elude you.
But if you turn your attention to other things
it comes and softly sits on your shoulder."

April 16:  Interesting that it takes a health crisis to create an interest in punishing those who spread incorrect information on the interweb. "Truth" gets special/better treatment when the context is health (e.g.: Canadian Food Inspection Agency labelling laws and regulations) versus other aspects. Even after 2.5 decades, still needing in electronically-shared information the equivalent of the anti-chain letter. (All the more reason to be using Snopes before forwarding something received via social media.)

A few neurons catch mention of an eating competition (about as close as there will be to a "real" sports event for a while). Has possibilities when coupled with Quarantine Olympics. The Decanterthon... Badmutton... FruitBasketball... Can you Kai yak... Golp... Gymnasties... Handmeatball... Hock EEE!... Saleing... Thai Kendo... Rack an eel...

The City of Edmonton announces LRT service will end at 2200h, bus services at midnight beginning Monday, April 20 -- in other words, an end to late-night transit. The reasons given are mixed (read: vague) but are partly due to problems caused by those described kindly as "having no destination". If figures -- once again, the few "those" having nowhere to go have ruined it for everybody else right when we now have nothing to do....

It is mentioned during the Alberta Health Services briefing that they had an electrical issue affecting a key computer. Somewhere there is an old Tandem Computers salesperson rousing to proclaim "See? SEE?!!!!!! You NEED fault tolerance!!!"

Receiving a request for thoughts regarding a computer purchase, a few neurons beg for something simpler, like, oh, explaining the "Theory of Relativity"....

April 17:  Not sure if the Holderness Family watches Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news broadcasts -- likely the issues of "What do I do with my hair?!..." are pretty much global by now -- but their timing about hair colouring, coupled with musings from radio hosts, cause an accidental, closer listen to a particular song. Huh... Never noticed the part about a haircut in "Hallelujah" before. (k.d. lang's version is the most soulful -- did not know she sang it at the Olympics (indoor track and field season can be quite busy).) Someone should start a list of anthems we will be singing when "The whistle is blown..." and we get to leave our homes -- near the top of the list will be George Michael's "Freedom".

Fish Griwkowsky mentions something someone said to him: "We have all this time -- don't feel pressured to do anything.... If you can just chill out, you might never get a break like this again.... Just relax a little bit; try all the new things, learn things, but just relax."

Hearing Dr. Terri Griffith (of Simon Fraser University) mention that somebody is suggesting "Formal Friday". Formal Friday?! Black tie?!!! Do I HAVE to wear the three-piece vested??!!!!! (Hmmm... Need to ask bed in Vancouver if they would be able to make a tailored suit or something using their marble-dyed sheets....)

Trying not to look at the statistics on a daily basis... but saw the figures as of today for Canada. The death rate is up to four percent (it was two percent just a week ago). The rate is a bit better than the planetary total (nearly 6.7 percent; the U.S. one is 5.25 (nearly three times what it was a few weeks ago)). That it doubled even in the middle of all the precautions being taken in the country (and even with the extra testing being performed in some provinces (which would increase the denominator)) is haunting. For an audience of 15,000, this would mean six hundred people. (Would you go to a large concert or sports event if you knew you had a four percent (or higher) chance of dying within a couple of weeks of the event?)

Severely needing a chocolate dose, so walking to Carol's Quality Sweets... oh... wait... WHAT?!!! Who the PHOTON decided that candy stores are not an essential service?!!!! [Sigh....] [Moping....] Walking home... noticing (of course) places that are open.... [Moping more....]

Listening to weekly thoughts, interviews, and insights on "Real Time with Bill Maher". Fareed Zakaria, yes, but especially Andrew Sullivan who knows that his catching the disease would be a death sentence and, therefore, is not expecting to see anybody for at least a year (and was unable to attend his father's recent funeral) -- he implores to live now... and to learn to live with uncertainty. (Maher's observations might seem outrageous to some (and sometimes always), but they deserve more consideration than what is received by others who know less....)

Sleepyhead thought: At least the year had two months and two weeks to it....

April 18:  Waking thought is... If this morning means we are half-way to the expected peak for Alberta, that means... ummm... oh... right... one plus two is three... three more months to get to the couple of months after the peak. Is it too early in the morning to follow the Day Five of Quarantine therapy for the fifth week of quarantine?

Figuring out what to order from Carol's Quality Sweets, and Governor Cuomo is near the end of his daily briefing (which should probably be required viewing in U.S. offices), and he is almost giggling (when it is noted by the person to his left that video-based marriage certificate applications and marriages are now being allowed) when he observes [paraphrased] "There is no longer any excuse... 'I do...' by Zoom...". [ "HEY YOU GUYS!!!!...." There is only ONE "Zoom".]

Providing assistance to someone needing to move from an underpowered computer to something more capable. You would think that Microsoft would -- after, what, 3.5 decades of Windows different versions -- have come up with SOMEthing to make it easier to transfer data and software from one computer to another so that the former could be permanently consigned to the silicon graveyard... but nope: what required dozens of hours to move to the much ballyhooed (rallyboo'd) Windows 8 sevenish years ago still pretty much requires dozens of hours in the newer environment. ("OneDrive"... yeah, right: like that is a viable choice (even when the computers are not on the same network). The programmers at a certain company should get their heads out of "the cloud" -- they were much better when they were trying to figure out how to hide Easter eggs.)

Using a banking machine, using knuckles to touch the screen (to minimize the risk of picking something up directly on a finger surface) and thinking about how millenia ago, our ancestors likely used their knuckles as part of the means of performing daily activities... Oh!, how we have evolved to get past that primitive way....

A grocery store is not allowing one to bring in already-containing-something bags (even before this year, the "Oh, GOD, you brought a bag in!!!!..." stores never seem to understand that pedestrians never have a car outside (put lockers by your entrance -- one trusts your staff less than you trust us)), demanding that external bags be put on a table. Yes, it is true that one study on the stability of the virus on different surfaces mentions three days for plastic surfaces... but if you are really wanting to be thorough about reducing the risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 entering your facility, you need to make like the grocery store in a nudist camp (or, at least, like the swimming pools we are not allowed to visit): all external items need to be off (not just shoes and jackets) with bonus points for everyone taking a shower before entering. (The parking lot of a grocery store is as likely as a late-night gasoline station to have someone coughing and spitting onto the pavement with the gunk subsequently stepped on by somebody else not seeing the wet spot....) The curling rinks are closed -- you should at least borrow their shoe-cleaning machines....

Catching the last half hour of "Casablanca". Thinking of one of the early scenes in which one of the uncounted refugees laments "I am never getting out of here...." The movie is wonderful in all sorts of aspects (whether or not one is a hopeless romantic), with multiple love triangles and examples of "Love is when someone else's needs are more important than your own..."... and [sigh] the eyes of Ingrid Bergman.

[Unable to provide the origin of "Love is when someone else's needs are more important than your own..." -- it was on a poster in an English classroom in the mid-1970s (long before a book published more than three decades later). The poster might have been inspired by Philippians 2:2-4 and/or by 1 Corinthians 13.]

Listening to a discussion with Kelly Horan regarding record levels of dog adoptions. A few neurons wondering if some gerbils are gerbilling "So... How do YOU like being stuck in an enclosed space for extended periods of time?!! Huh?! Huh?!!....."

April 19:  Keep forgetting to note Zwift, which provides a means of exercising (cycling or running) in virtual settings while chatting with others. Saw real use of it yesterday -- very cool! Great idea for those missing their weekend jaunts or shared rides, or wishing travel restrictions were not preventing them from cycling/running the streets someplace else on the planet.

Popping over to Carol's Quality Sweets to pick up the order -- arriving significantly before opening time. So many yummies visible in the window, thinking of licking the glass... and wishing the window was sugar glass.... (Reasons for smiles at Carol's Quality Sweets are also from memories of those you can see inside....) Wishing Carol a "Happy Orthodox Easter!" (The day is because of a difference in calendars... but, when one considers the Apostle Thomas, one could suggest that Orthodox Easter is required because Jesus had to prove He rose from the dead a second time....)

Listening to the latest posting from ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who manages to summarize the humourous inconsistencies in the advice/guidances/rules being given.

Wednesday is Administrative Professionals Day... but they deserve more than that, so HAPPY ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS WEEK!!!!

Hearing a "Coming up..." on a radio station, mentioning something about an Amish romance novel. "Oh!, Absolom. Thou...."

Noticing that one of the movie channels is starting the evening with "The Andromeda Strain", which was based on Michael Crichton's fictional novel regarding the ramifications of a deadly microorganism of unknown origin and scientists having some amount of certainty regarding what to do without realizing that the microorganism is mutating/evolving right in front of them. Oh... wait....

Oh, the things they chat about on Sunday evening radio sometimes, like considerations regarding whether the virus is passed by... ummm... passing gas. Preventions would seem to be relatively simple to apply: Cover your mouth, and CYA....

April 20-22:  Twenty-two-hour days for track and field meets are relaxing by comparison....

Hearing something about "National Defiance Syndrome". Neurons SO busy, they ignore the call to action....

One of the nicer thoughts to start the week is from approximately a year ago, when Jamario Howard observes "...we can show the world it's alright to be kind. And then, before long, maybe the world will be a much better place."

Seeing a news item using lasers to show how far a cough REALLY travels, the first thought is "Ummm... If two metres is not enough for the physical distancing thing... Hmmm... Need to use TWO javelins, taped together tip-to-tip...."

Hearing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explain very clearly why it is vital for government support to be immediate and thorough:

"I appreciate when... we say 'We're going to get to it...', but... We need to get to it in time, and THAT is ultimately the issue that we have....
We cannot just throw our hands and say that this is someone else's problem or that we're going to get to it eventually, because
if we pass a relief bill next year, we're going to be paying for morgues, and
if we pass a relief bill now, we will be paying for prevention, and that's the difference."

The City of Edmonton announces that garage sales will not be allowed during the upcoming season. Golly... even the Tchotchke Universe is affected. Guessing there will be a sudden increase in postings to Kijiji Edmonton....

Wondering if sales of body pillows have increased.

Given that Alberta's current death rate is back below two percent (the U.S. one is more than 5.5 percent), extra thanks are owed to Dr. Deena Hinshaw....

Snoop Dogg is getting into WINE?!! Huh.... Does this mean Natalie MacLean is switching to being a Cannabis-inspired rapper?....

April 23:  [Way early...] Thinking of the University of Alberta's Medicine Interview 2013.

Waking up extra-early with a plan for what to accomplish within the next few hours, to be completed by 0930h. [God giggled at approximately 0835h....]

On the other hand, any day that involves trying to describe "The West Wing" "Mon Petit Fromage" can not be all bad.

Going by some railroad tracks, having nice memories of time spent on VIA Rail trains.

Hearing that the Calgary Stampede and Edmonton's K-Days have been cancelled -- indeed, the Chief Medical Officer update emphasized the need for the restrictions on large gatherings to apply to summer events/festivals because, otherwise, there is the risk of something becoming a "super-spreader event". (Considerations of the National Index of "Aww, come on, it will be fun!..." notwithstanding, it means adding to the challenges of finding inspirations for the soul. (Yes, there are "billions and billions" of hours of potential "moments" on YouTube... but special smiles occur during people-watching in the middle of a gathering's vista.))

The Chief Medical Officer update mentions "...a new, easier approach to ensure PPE is accessible to all community specialists...". Wishing that the list had included, oh, you know, barbers.

The U.S. confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 surpass 48,000 in the span of barely two months, a stunning figure when considered with the 2017 annual leading causes of death. Given the daily carnival barker broadcast in the Eastern time zone late afternoon hours, the number of deaths and the disease's corresponding 5.7 percent death rate in the U.S. are stark reminders of something Bernard M. Baruch said in 1946:

"Every man has the right to an opinion but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. Nor, above all, to persist in errors as to facts."

April 24:  [Way early...] Thinking of one of "The West Wing" opening scenes, one discussing a part of the Epistle to the Ephesians.

Wishing that Cartago was open in some manner.

Listening to a discussion about the century-ago pandemic with John M. Barry, which includes an observation about how some Universities existed for the purposes of marketing rather than science, and mentions Dr. Simon Flexner's polio research (including vaccine success) eleven decades ago.

Hearing about more cancellations and postponements, including Taste of Edmonton, Heritage Festival (changing to a virtual offering... but probably no "meat on a stick" opportunities), ITU Triathlon Grand Final, Big Valley Jamboree... even no fireworks display on Canada Day.

She should not have had to, but the daily update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw included further explanation because some were expressing anger at her. Thinking of how, when I was in high school, one of the more important books was "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankel particularly "Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”

With recent observations that the virus -- and the rapid spread of the virus -- might be related to climate and Mother Nature's reactions to what we do... [Sigh...] Thinking extra of "Big Yellow Taxi". (The newer video's scenes with things we are missing already are probably especially mournful....)

April 25:  [Way early] While chatting with Bill Maher, Jay Leno told a joke that likely would remind some of one scene from the 1980s "Bizarre".

Waking up to the realization that... Oh... Wait... Cancellation of Taste of Edmonton means that the late-July daily on-the-way-home dose of Panda Hut Express "Wonton with Crab Meat and Cream Cheese" and/or their green onion cakes will be more difficult to acquire.... Shakes already starting....

Hearing mention of ParticipACTION -- not used to hearing a ParticipACTION voice that is not Joanne McLeod nor Hal Johnson.

Noticing that Dr. Theresa Tam sounds a bit like... Steven Wright. Huh... Maybe it is just the bizarreness whispering.... Reminder that I should try to find some time to finally watch Wright's Oscar-winning "The Appointments of Dennis Jennings" (including Rowan Atkinson).

Listening to a part of "A Face in the Crowd", and realizing that the movie -- more than six decades ago -- pretty much nailed "fame and influence" in a media atmosphere.

April 26:  Waking to thoughts of Ghirardelli Square... and pudiddles. Receiving beautiful pictures of flowers is a reminder of my mommy's garden and a few other scenes.

Wondering if food trucks are going to be able to make themselves available (and not just because there is a craving for something from Jackie O's).

Listening to "The Music Man" movie in the background, because, you know, there is nothing the world needs more right now than listening to a flimflam man about how to make the community better (whether or not the person has any credentials). (So much for the warnings Bill Gates offered in his 2015 TED Talk.)

Noticing in a store that Christmas-related videos are still on sale. Wondering if someone in the store knew something three months ago and just decided to save time by leaving some things up/out.

Evening includes the "Stronger Together" broadcast in the background.

April 27-28:  Hearing about a core philosophy of "Pete the Cat": "It's all good...."

Hearing someone mention "If I can see them smiling... I can go home and sleep...." Yep... pretty much defines my best days at work....

Remembering that infomercials used to be broadcast only late at night (read: early morning hours). Now particularly misleading ones are shown live in the late-afternoon hours.... (Remembering when the only scary amoeba was the one in "Fantastic Voyage"....)

Noticing that "10" is on at the same time as "American Gigolo" and wondering if the service provider is intentionally trying to start fights in homes regarding which to watch (e.g.: Derek versus Gere, Hutton versus Moore, Andrews versus Blondie). A key reason to like "10" is not because of the scenes involving Bo Derek's skin -- it is because of her monologue during which she reminds that she (always) deserves respect and understanding. (There is also a nice coincidence that Bo Derek was in the same movie as Julie Andrews, because... someone known in high school years looked a bit like Bo Derek, so Derek would have been distracting even if she had appeared as Maria in "The Sound of Music"....)

Hearing that the infection rate in one Ohio prison is more than eighty percent!! It is a stunning example of how thorough the virus is when it is given the opportunity....

There are some sweet words from Alessia Cara creating more smiles from infinite moments....

April 29:  Hearing in the background the presentation by Mary Walsh at IdeaCity. Regardless of whether there is a decades-old soft spot in the heart for radicals, she makes excellent points and observations.

Someone wonders out loud: "What happens if the Dodo birds were precious to extraterrestrials?...."

There is a reminder from Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell to "...embrace the small things, but be grateful for the many things...".

In replying to a prompting about "the protective power of gratitude and giving... how it helps us get out of our own head...", Dr. Ganz Ferrance mentions something about being "...stuck together with people we love...". [Sigh...] Great... Cue Hunter Hayes... and the recitation of something from Whittier.

Waiting to pick up a birthday dinner to drop off for someone, and noticing that the dinner reservation book at the Blue Orchid Restaurant is still showing March 18 and March 19. Hmmm... Ominous... So those scenes in movies where all sorts of things are strangely left abandoned in place when something really bad suddenly happens are true....

Hearing some of the coverage of news from researchers in Great Britain regarding some success with a vaccine in testing with monkeys. Somebody points out (as a cautionary perspective) that the vaccine for measles required four years. (Wondering if even THAT timeline is optimistic, given Dr. Simon Flexner's polio research and early vaccine test results still meant a few decades before a successful human vaccine against the disease.) Meanwhile Fintan O'Toole observes that the disease "...doesn't care about who you are; it cares about your vulnerability."

April 30:  Realizing why "WarGames" (which was in the background at some point during the weekend) resonated in a pandemic context: The scene in which David Lightman laments to Jennifer Mack that (paraphrased) "I wish I did not know any of this...". (Hmmm... No place to learn how to swim -- all the pools are closed....)

The provincial government announces "Alberta’s safely staged COVID-19 relaunch". The announcement and press conference replies are very careful in not committing to specific dates for much. Makes sense (and each progression will likely be at least three weeks) -- the virus takes an average of fourteen days (sometimes longer) to cause symptoms, so various authorities will want to wait to see if one relaxation of rules results in an uptick of cases; an uptick will mean waiting more, and a big uptick will cause the authorities to want/need to go back to where we have been since mid-March....

May 1:  [Way early...] John Roberts trying to get a truthful, fact-based, complete answer during an infomercial (I mean, press conference). Roberts had more productive, honest conversations when he was at MuchMusic having a chat with a couple of drug-addled brains....

Hearing that California is allowing weddings by video conference, and that the participants will be allowed to wear pretty much what they want (even pajamas). It is about time there was such a timesaver for a couple that can not keep their hands off of each other. "By the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you... You may now 'honeymoon' the bride...."

Is anybody doing an objective study/experiment to confirm whether tie-dyed pillow cases help hide tear stains?

Had heard that Cartago would be offering some items for sale today. Darn -- no food items being offered on Der Markt... well, other than a few lemons... and some limes....

Today is May Day. Thinking this is the year to not be touching the ribbons-and-pole quite so much.... Also wondering if the holiday was created by a lady with luxurious locks because she was TRYing to teach someone how to braid her hair....

During her daily update, Dr. Deena Hinshaw spends some time describing "AB TraceTogether, "...a voluntary, secure, mobile contact tracing application to help prevent the spread of COVID-19." Perhaps coincidental in timing (given the trying in the moment to assess whether there is comfort in the privacy considerations...), someone sends a message that "Seems a little Russia...". Da, Comrade... Da.... Then someone else sends a message regarding trying to decide whether the app is "just plain scary". Wondering if I should wear the "My Stalker Gets Me..." t-shirt....

May 2:  Watching a video someone sent, one introduced as "His last word of the facts of life...". The item had thoughts supposed to be from Steve Jobs... but there was something about it that made it a possible candidate for the anti-chain letter. A quick search with the inclusion of "Snopes" led to the Snopes item on "Steve Jobs' deathbed speech". Snopes notes that the speech is false... but that objective assessment does not detract that the words are good.... Which matters more: Who said (or wrote) the words, or the Words?... The words and inspirations and guidance from the Sermon on the Mount are vital even on their own, whether or not Jesus Christ is mentioned in the same introductory sentence.

May 3:  [Way early...] Thinking a bit more about the Words... In Matthew 6:28-29, Jesus notes (as part of the Sermon on the Mount) "And as for clothing, why are you anxious? Consider how the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these." This is more than God saying "Don't worry, be happy...". It is a reminder that proof of God's existence may be found even (especially) in the simplest things, even in what we otherwise take for granted.

Hearing in the background a part of "Stars in My Crown": "Days sure seem like years at a time like this...." Perhaps coincidental that "City Slickers" is also on as a related reminder. Yep... "One thing... The rest don't mean ----...".

Canada Post "Details" booklet reminding of a friend whose decline took a turn for the worse approximately a year ago....

Noticing the sign at nearby gasoline outlet -- the price has risen by twenty cents per litre. Did not know this weekend included a holiday....

Hearing more about China in various news coverage. Whether or not a certain world "leader" paid attention to intelligence reports, the bottom line is that the "South Park" dudes could say they provided a warning in October....

Wondering what spinning the globe of Radio Garden might introduce as something new to listen to....

May 4:  [Way early...] Scent of rain Sunday evening was refreshing, and the sound of rain was calming....

Wait... Some neurons realize a wondering from a few days ago: When did MuchMusic show only movies?... Oh... maybe it is fair, since Turner Classic Movies shows musicals from time to time....

Hearing Gene Sperling (in the context of "Economic Dignity") mention Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech related to the Memphis Sanitation Strike... but neurons think instead of his "What is your life’s blueprint?" speech (Oh!, the video!!), not least

"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures...
sweep streets like Beethoven composed music...
sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera...
Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry...
Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."

May 5:  Waking news item is about the Asian giant hornet (a.k.a.: "murder hornets"). Patent pending on the extra dose of adrenaline being caused by a clock radio. (Given the first part of the Latin name, wondering if the creature is as large as a Vespa....)

Smiling while hearing about the five-year-old driving the family car to get a Lamborghini. Oh!, how times have changed -- all I ever wanted when I was that little was a cookie during pre-school....

Wondering if the barber is going to be available... and then realize that a solution for barbers and hair stylists -- to allow them to provide personal services while maintaining physical distancing -- might be to repurpose old nuclear plant remote manipulator technology....

Receiving electronic junk mail from a garden centre about "Find your soil mate...". Not quite what Richard Bach meant nor wrote about in the context of "soul mate" (e.g.: "The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story"), but... ummm... [Blush...] Wanna get dirty?....

Hearing someone mention "...failure of epic proportions...", and a few neurons are thinking she really meant to say "...failure of ethic proportions..."....

Hearing that "Live and Let Die" was playing in the background during a photo-op visit. No small irony that the movie was about someone -- for personal gain -- taking advantage of misdirected beliefs....

An observation that wastewater testing is being explored (as a means of providing early notice that the virus is in an area) is reminding of an episode of "Connections" which noted that mathematics/statistics and science led to understanding what caused cholera outbreaks and how to stop them.

Hearing (perhaps coincidentally) some words from "A Letter to My Father, Gabriel García Márquez"... followed by some words from Chace Beech....

May 6:  Hearing "It is what it is..." from a so-called political leader. Grrrrr.... Highly unlikely the words were (ever) uttered by someone with a valiant Profile in Courage.

May 7:  Thus ends the eighth week of the Möbius strip. Must be a punishment for the ones I made and tortured (drawing lines... cutting...) decades ago....

May 8:  Listening (at 3:50 in the morning) to birds singing. Thinking of a sleepyhead conversation...

"Pretty noisy...."

Hearing a discussion regarding which is the best drive-in restaurant. Thinking of VJ's DRive Inn across from Union Station in Winnipeg. Worth a train trip....

Noticing that it is No Socks Day. Day, eight weeks, whatever....

Typing accidentally "annoywed". A few neurons wondering if that would be the correct spelling for the version of "annoyed" that occurs in a marital context.... Cue Hunter Hayes....

Hearing about a Lethbridge person stuck on a cruise ship for eight weeks. Nobody can complain ever again being stuck at an airport during a weather delay....

Glancing up in a store and see Kit Kat ice cream 500 ml. Pretty much just the right size for a single-serving appetizer....

Wondering if the Selfie Mask would work on a scarf....

Seeing an animation of cell phone data clearly demonstrating how quickly potential infection can spread across the continent. Another reminder to try to stay at home....

May 9:  Thinking a bit more of the "annoywed" thing. Realizing that what the Chief Medical Officer should have told everybody -- for the benefit of half the spouses -- is that you need to wash a dish every time you wash your hands in order to minimize the risk of catching COVID-19.

Hearing a scientist on "Quirks and Quarks" noting findings from her research on the effects of stress during pre-natal development. Regardless of whether there will be a baby boom starting in December, 2020 that will rival power outage poppings, her observations suggest the ramifications from the current situation will last for decades.

May 10:  Mother's Day.... Near the end of visiting a grave yard, see a couple of people wearing masks. Somehow adds to the considerations....

Swinging by Peters' Drive-In to see if I knew where it was specifically located. Relatively sure they are not open yet, but the line-up is already two blocks long.

Hearing that the Army and Navy stores (or, as Monsieur Benjamin Rompré referred to them as, "The A and N Boutique") are closing permanently.

A mention of Peace by Piece Puzzles, which have the wonderful idea of providing some internal peace while working on a puzzle. On the other hand, some other neurons are remembering that some puzzles are not all that peaceful....

May 11:  Listening in the background to Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth , who mentions

"...really gritty people who come through adversity and failure better than others... they understand
there is a lot they can not control... but they choose to... disproportionally pay attention to the things that they CAN control...
You can make your bed...
You can wash the dishes...
You can send one kind e-mail...
You can write in your journal...
Trying to think about -- and actually take action on -- the subset of things in the universe that you can control,
that's what a gritty person would do right now."

May 12:  Hearing different observations about the extended cohort. Wondering if I need to get a cohort consort....

Hearing Dr. Erin Bromage regarding health risks behind reopening. He notes that "...outdoor environment considerably more safe...", advocating for outdoor restaurant patios. Wondering if "mosquito" is a known entity at Dartmouth....

Glimpsing a flash of "CBS Sunday Night Movies". Oh my goodness... Those have not been on for nearly two generations. Wondering if they kept the drumbeat-and-horns intro....

Seeing a little video showing how to make a mask using a sock. So... if the significant other will not pick up their socks, the bright side is you will soon have two masks... well, after washing, maybe....

May 13:  Hearing mention of Canadian federal debt estimate to become a trillion dollars. Let's see... approximately 37.59 million people in Canada... divide that into a trillion... Oh... Oh-oh... My share is more than 26.6 thousand dollars... Better save some more....

Glimpsing mention of Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. Thinking of the nice memories walking home late summer evenings and hearing the music from the Poundmaker's Lodge Pow Wow.

May 14:  Hearing Bob Layton observe

"When you take things for granted,
things you are granted are taken...."

Walking to Mama Afro to see if they are open and, if they are, to see if they have gift cards. Yes... and nope....

Pausing due to an observation from Senator Richard Blumenthal: "Facts are stubborn things... The truth is necessary to avoid death."

May 15:  Having a flashback, a recollection of scary scenes on a Borg ship from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", individually mindlessly doing the mundane for the greater good of everyone, then spending all of one's spare time in an isolated mini-cave-alcove trying to regenerate and fearing being cut off from everyone else.... There should be relief that it is "Just a science fiction series..." Oh... wait....

Using information (very) kindly provided by Ms. Nye, venturing outside to sit on a river valley hillside to watch the Snowbirds fly over Edmonton's hospitals.
Snowbirds flying above Edmonton on 2020-05-15

May 16:  Hearing that Captain Tom Moore's version (with others) of "You'll Never Walk Alone" hit number one on the United Kingdom charts.

Walking to the barber, and not just because I am two months behind on my spring shearing. Pretty sky reminding of brighthappy smiles and brilliant eyes. A curious neuron performed a weighing before the walk and after the return -- weight loss from the haircut was on the order of eight hundred grams. (Barber mentioned what he and his daughter had been doing to mix-and-provide colouring kits via home delivery to their customers so inclined.)

Walking by the Edmonton Downtown Farmer's Market, where the line outside is more than a block long. (Coincidence that the Edmonton Downtown Farmer's Market is in the building that used to be the downtown Army and Navy store.)

The giggly poetic neurons (poetically giggly neurons?) are playing more with "cohort", like cohort consort cavort contort comport deport import escort export fort transport horticultural court morte thwart port quart sort torte tort wort exhort short sport snort at the airport....

Meanwhile, other neurons -- the sugar-addicted ones -- are thinking of lemon chicken, which -- when combined with noting the lead time for an order from Cartago -- causes a reminder of a little note written on January 1, 2015:

On my way home New Year's Eve, I was having a minor craving for Chinese food. (Okay, okay, it was a craving for lemon chicken... okay, okay, it was probably a craving for the lemon sauce that is used for lemon chicken... okay, okay, it was probably a craving for the sugar that is in the lemon sauce that is used for lemon chicken...). I had contemplated going all the way to Panda Hut Express, but then it would have been probably forty-or-more minutes to get home from there, by which time whatever would have been cold. (Cold pizza may be fine; cold Chinese food, not so much.) So...

I decided to try Lingnan... not the one in St. Albert (because I was already on the way into Edmonton, so it was kind of a bit too late to go to St. Albert's Lingnan Express), but the one near downtown. Got off the bus on 105 Street just south of 105 Avenue, spent a while trying to figure out how to walk around the new (currently unused) LRT station there. Got inside Lingnan at about 5:45 (not sure I should have expected what was to come when a sign on the door said something about the meal would require two hours because they prepare everything fresh), mentioned that I wanted a take-out order, and the hostess said something about a three-hour wait. "Three HOURS?!!...." She went to check if things had changed, and somebody else came to explain the background: they had lots of pre-orders from earlier in the week and last week, and the soonest they would be able to satisfy a new order would be about 8:30. I glanced at my watch, mumbled something about "Yeah, that would be three hours...", wished them a Happy New Year, left...

...and was still craving Chinese food (lemon chicken, lemon sauce, sugar, etc.).... I was only a few blocks north of an LRT station (a used one), but there was still that long wait if I wanted to go all the way to Panda Hut Express. Last time I ordered a delivery from Panda Hut Express, they had a delivery limit of the North Saskatchewan River (I was working a track and field meet at Foote Field), but I decided to see if they had changed. The app on my iPad (yes, they have an app -- I think they also have an Android version) did not say anything about a delivery limit (other than they do not deliver to Leduc, but I had no plans on going to Leduc on New Year's Eve anyway...), so I used the app to place an order, pressed submit... and waited for them to call to confirm the order...

...and waited... and waited... and waited... and finally they called. The lady said that they were rather busy, so much so the wait time for a delivery was three hours. "Three HOURS??!!!..." She assured me that the wait would be less if I could pick it up... about an hour.... So, I would be looking at probably a couple of hours -- the better part of an hour to get there, then waiting for the rest of the hour before being able to receive the food, and then the better part of an hour before getting back home to enjoy the lemon chicken (lemon sauce, sugar, etc.).... Back to cold Chinese food... and that I was kind of hungry "now"....

I decided to cancel the order (and did so sadly)...

...and was still craving Chinese food (lemon chicken, lemon sauce, sugar, etc.).... Thinking of another good Chinese food place, I decided to try calling Lee Garden. Found their web site, checked their menu, and YAY! they have lemon chicken (lemon sauce, sugar, etc.). I called, asked them how long a delivery would require, and she said something about up to an hour-and-a-half. Oh my goodness... had I known that, I could have called while I was still at work in St. Albert and been there just in time.... Anyway, placed my order (because, you know, I am now fifty percent closer to lemon chicken (lemon sauce, sugar, etc.)), and kept my fingers crossed that they would require less time.... It turned out to be just a bit over an hour -- I needed far less time to walk downtown and go to the top of the Edmonton Centre garage to watch the fireworks... AND walk back.... Oh, and the delivery occurred just before eight, which means that I had saved not much more than a half an hour than had I ordered from Lingnan in the first place.

So... the lesson is... if you want to have Chinese food on New Year's Eve from Lee Garden or from Lingnan or from Panda Hut Express, place your order a week or more in advance....

Forgot to note about a book seen in the window Audreys Books, Chris Riddell's "100 Hugs", an example of why it is always a good thing to look at display windows (or, at least, to pay attention to the internal radar every now and then)....

Listening to the "Graduate Together", for the High School Class of 2020, organized by Rethink High School Together. (The summary from Joy Reid: "Oh!, full sentences! How we miss you!!", which is similar to Dan Rather's observations.) Following with President Obama's 2020 commencement address to HBCU graduates -- he includes words from Fannie Lou Hamer:

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."

Listening in the background to Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin chatting (at the Nashville Public Library) about characteristics of real leaders and their attention to the integrity of their character.

Listening in the background to John Cleese and Eric Idle having a chat in Los Angeles, and Cleese mentions that the Dalai Lama told him (in response to a question about "...why Buddhists laugh so much...")

"What I like about laughter is that
when people laugh,
they can have new ideas."

Thinking of something Ms. Nye said a couple of weeks ago, about how, when this is all over, "...everyone is going to need a big group hug...", all the more touching in the context of how many older mothers started the week unable to receive the hugs they wish for and so much deserve. Not sure if this is along the lines of what is meant:
Group hug!! [Source unknown.]

May 17:  [Way early...] Reading about Fannie Lou Hamer and finding related videos.

[Still way early....] While replying to someone who wondered whether I had watched "Tiger King" (and thinking my "Have not watched 'Tiger King', and likely will not..." is reading a bit curt even with the early hour), finding a few words about Al Oeming, a conservationist and zoologist... and a co-founder of Stampede Wrestling?!! Wait! Really? (Does not detract from the memories of memories of the Alberta Game Farm and Tawana.)

Noticing that today is Work From Home Day. Day... week... Quarter... Whatever.... Forgot to note that yesterday was World Whisky Day, Drawing Day, and World Fiddle Day, a day that probably would prove that you can not do any one of them too much "well" without affecting the other two.

Hearing about Room Rater, which is probably a natural expectation for a society that votes more during reality television broadcasts than in political elections.

Seeing an item about something organized by L’Association des hôtels du Grand Montréal -- "Like in a Hotel", tips on home versions of hotel luxury.

May 18:  Victoria Day, a day meant for butter tarts, ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Smarties....


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Copyright ©2021 and 2020 Vernon R.J. Schmid.  All rights reserved.
Created 2020-04-10. Last Updated:  2021-05-17.

The "Moonpie Starbox" team does NOT provide credit (on their relevant video postings) to Nathan William Burleson nor to the recording of "Kayden on doughnuts", and, therefore, "Moonpie Starbox" should not be viewed nor subscribed to nor be the basis for spending money on merchandise -- there are other teams (dogs and otherwise) posting ORIGINAL content (and other teams at least mention their inspirations and/or provide links to the original source material).